Uncle, yes, THAT uncle, texted me this morning around 8:30 with a little ditty, "didn't want to bother you at work. Grandpa in hospital, grandma in nursing home. Call when you get a chance."
The reason he texted me? He told mom as everything was happening, but got the feeling she was so wrapped up in her own medical drama that she didn't care. It's telling that she expected her parents, in their seventies, to run her to Florida for three months for a maybe necessary surgery, then stay with her for another six months, but she can't be bothered to pay attention when they might need her eight years later. It didn't occur to him until today that she probably wasn't going to tell me. He was right.
It wouldn't bother me so much but the only relative that even comes close to ranking as high as grandpa on my likeability scale was his mom. We're close, gramps and I. Not as close as we used to be, as the years have been busy for both of us. But if he needs something, I'm fuckin' on it. He's always been the same for me.
Oh, and did I mention I was actually AT mom's on Tuesday to fix Mr. Mom's computerstupidity problems? (My spellchecker says "computerstupidity" is a valid word. That seems appropriate.) Right after she would have heard the latest update on all this drama. And not one word to me about any of it. Mothers.
So, grandpa's brain stimulator came unplugged. He was a participant in a semi-experimental surgery for Parkinson's patients. They apply several probes to the brain, then set a control pack in the chest that sends very low-pulse signals to the brain through those probes. It helps basic body control through long-term exposure, and seemed to sort-of/kind-of work for him.
His barber saw the wires sticking out from behind his ears. This was sometime around Thanksgiving. He had forgotten about it by the time they got back home. Fast-forward to last weekend and he rediscovered the wires himself and quickly called my aunt, who is a nurse, to come take a look.
She got him in to the clinic, and they lined him up to get to the hospital that had installed the device in Iowa City on Monday. They went in for emergency surgery to re-set the wires correctly and check for infections. Grandma stayed with uncle and aunt. One problem. If grandpa isn't around to ground her to reality just a little bit, grandma gets very confused, very quickly. And rarely is anyone else patient enough to continually talk her off the ledge, over and over again, the way he is.
Less than a full day into it, and it was decided she needed to go to a home because she couldn't be trusted in the house by herself. They were afraid she was going to wander out during the snow storm this week and uncle needed to get the chores done and aunt has a job as a nurse now, so staying 24/7 to keep her in the house was getting difficult.
They explained to her what was going on, why it was going on, and how it was going to go down. Apparently, when she was coherent, she understood and was fairly accepting of it. Until they were actually walking in the building. Then the fit went epic. So the staff carted her off while uncle went through the paperwork. By the time he was done she was playing board games and laughing and talking with three other lady residents.
Aside from asking about gramps a lot, she seems to have adjusted fairly quickly to it. Oh, she still gets angry when she sees uncle, but apparently she likes the people there. She used to work there years ago. One of the people she used to work with is still on staff, and one other one came in as a resident last week, so she has some friends to chat with, and she seems to get along with the others really well. Granted, she always did get along with anyone she wasn't related to.
Gramps is recovering. He'll be transported back to his home hospital in the coming days, take ten days on IVs to stave off infection, then be moved into a room with grandma in the home. In the end, it really is time. I guess gramps has been going out of his way to put loud things in front of doors at their house every night because he couldn't trust grandma to not wake up and wander off. Once the weather turned cold, he did everything he could to make loud-makers to wake him up if she went off-target. As physically destroyed as he is, it's amazing the amount of work he put in to taking care of her. The hope is with less pressure on him to be on constant guard with her, and several residents that he's known most of his life to talk to and pass the time with, he'll feel a bit better about everything.
I'm arranging plans to go see him once he's settled in. Uncle thinks about Christmas time or a little after everything should be in order and it'd be a good pick-me-up to see me. He's given up on getting mom to come see them. She's all wrapped up in her own shit. Like usual.
Apparently uncle also just found out about mom going after dad lawsuit style. He's as confused as the rest of us as to what she thinks she's going to accomplish this late in the game. He's almost certain that Mr. Mom has put her up to it, as he likes to keep shit stirred up with everybody. To be fair, mom's never been a slouch when it comes to poking and prodding people. Hell, torturing dad was her favorite passtime for twenty-six years or so. I can't think it would have taken much prodding to get her to go for something else that would torture him.
Sorry, off course.
So, anyway, uncle promised to just call me and tell me directly when something else goes down, rather than expecting mom to get any messages to me anymore.
On top of all this, while he was on the phone with me he got a message from his wife. She'd just been hit by somebody and her car was deemed undriveable so he had to go pick her up.
He seemed thoroughly disgusted with mom and Mr. Mom. He said he's half expecting Mr. Mom to pull a lawsuit out of his ass because he's tried twice before to get power-of-attorney wrestled from uncle for no particular reason other than he's mr. insurance and thinks he knows better than everybody else how to run people's lives. There's a rivalry there, and it's creating a rift where there never was much of one before, between uncle and mom. And that's all I care to say on that matter at the moment.
Family difficulties breed family drama. The nice thing is, in this case, the main drama source seems to be avoiding the rest of the family at the moment, too wrapped up in self to give a good gawd damn about anybody else.
In the end, it sounds like both grandparents will be fairly OK. Grandpa's probably not going to like the idea of the home, but as stated several of his friends and acquaintances will be there. And the added relief of not dealing with grandma by himself should be a de-stresser for him. I'll be making a trip to see them for myself as he's recovered enough to handle some company and see how they're doing.
And momma may be getting a chat about trying to be there for her parents, who went above and beyond to be there for her many times over the years. Man, raising parents is so difficult sometimes.
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